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Course Standards Policy 20-21

Course Standards Policy
At the end of the first week of each course, teachers will give their students the following written information:

  • Statement of course objectives
  • Use of X periods on Remote Wednesdays
  • Tentative bibliography of required readings
  • Tentative major test schedule
  • Major written assignments and tentative due dates
  • Any special projects and tentative due dates
  • Attendance requirements for the course
  • Description of the grading system to be used to include the level of achievement necessary for each grade (A, B, C, D, NC)
  • The requirements and nature of the course-completing experiences (e.g. final exam, conference, final paper, demonstration, project, etc.)
  • Specific plans for review prior to mid-year and final exams
  • Standards for physically distanced eating opportunities should be outlined
  • Standards for being excused from class for personal or emergency reasons

Note: Student use of computers during tests, including midterm and final exams, is permitted only as outlined in Accommodations to Course Standards, below.

Adopted by Committee on Instruction - June 9, 2015

Accommodations, commonly part of a plan for a student who has a permanent or temporary disability, are outlined in a formal individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan. Accommodations level the playing field, allowing students full access to the curriculum without changing it.

Students seeking accommodations in honors-level courses (a) must meet departmental qualifications and (b) must be capable of working with content material at a faster pace and in greater depth than would be expected in the non-honors level equivalent courses. For students with disabilities, teachers will adhere to the accommodations stated in the IEP or 504 plan with the exception that classwork and homework expectations in honors-level courses will not be modified with respect to volume, pace and rigor.

Modifications are course changes, outlined in an IEP, that substantially reduce the curriculum in terms of volume, pace, and/or rigor. While accommodations level the playing field, modifications substantively change the playing field. For example, if a student with a print disability needs all texts available in electronic form, this would be an accommodation. If a student needs texts available at a lower reading level, this would be a modification. Modifications may lead to course individualization.

Individualizations involve such significant reductions to a course’s curriculum, volume, pace, and/or rigor that the student’s academic experience and learning are fundamentally different from their classmates and, as such, require a relabeling of the course. Courses may be individualized for the following reasons:

  • A course may be individualized for a student on an IEP if the Special Education learning specialist, in consultation with the teacher, determines that this change is in the best interest of the student.
  • A course may be individualized for a student who has had a sudden, severe, and/or traumatic experience; course individualization will be determined by a team that must include the teacher, the student's counselor, and an administrator.
  • A course may be individualized for a student who is suffering from a medically or psychologically diagnosed and documented condition that chronically interferes with the student’s regular participation in the course; course individualization will be determined by a team that must include the teacher, the student's counselor, and an administrator.

If the decision is made to individualize a course, the student may stay in that class, but the course title will be relabeled as individualized on report cards and transcripts. An honors course that needs to be individualized will also be relabeled as individualized and will no longer be designated as an honors course on report cards or transcripts.

Further explanation for what constitutes an “individualized” course will be provided in the school profile.

Stages of Intervention
For students receiving special assistance through an IEP, the curriculum may be adjusted in non-honors courses if the adjustment is developed cooperatively by the learning specialist, parent, and classroom teacher and is included in the student’s IEP. An IEP meeting may be called as a student’s needs change.

For students on a 504 Plan or in the Dresden Plan, requests for adjusting courses are subject to the following protocol:

  • Students on a 504 plan should be using the appropriate accommodations set forth in the student’s 504 Plan.
  • If the student is not successful in the class, the student will be required to use available resources such as resource centers, supervised study, and tutors, and may receive an academic schedule-up.
For students who are outside our Special Education, 504, and Dresden programs and are determined to be struggling to meet basic course expectations, these incremental steps should be followed:
  • Students should avail themselves of regular education resources (e.g., x periods, resource centers, supervised study, etc.).
  • Students who continue to struggle academically despite availing themselves of these regular education resources should move to the next lower level in the same subject, i.e. Biology to General Biology.
  • Students may also be assigned to a Dresden Plan course in the same subject area, to be designated on the transcript as such (e.g. Dresden Plan Biology).
  • Students with a long-standing (e.g. 6 months) history of difficulty or inability to do course work should be referred to 504 or Special Education.
Please note: The failure to do homework in a course is not a reason to move, change, or modify a course.

Course Concerns
To Register a Concern with a Course or Evaluation:
Passed 05/06/2015

When issues emerge, Council encourages the student to first speak with the teacher. If there is no resolution, the student should contact the teacher’s supervisor (if applicable). If there is still no resolution, then Council provides this recourse:

If a student wishes to register a concern, then the student must do so in writing (typed or handwritten, but printed and signed) to a Curriculum Committee member of Council or submit the Course Concern Form. The Curriculum Committee will then notify the following persons about this concern: the teacher, the teacher’s supervisor (if applicable), the principal. The Curriculum Committee will remove the student’s name from the letter unless otherwise requested by the student. The Curriculum Committee will give the letter to the principal. The Curriculum Committee will keep no permanent records of the concern. The Curriculum Committee respectfully requests that, insofar as possible in keeping with the teacher’s privacy rights, the teacher’s supervisor or the principal inform the committee of any action taken so that the Curriculum Committee can provide feedback to the student.